Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Publicizing One Book While Writing Another And Living My Life—It's Not A Joke. It's My New Normal!

by Amy Sue Nathan

It has taken me until the middle of summer settle to meld doing publicity for my debut novel, The Glass Wives, with my writing schedule for my new novel.

Better late than never, right? Let's hope so.

In writing and in life, I'm a big proponent of do what works for you.

But what if you don't know what that is?

Yeah, that.

I stopped working on my new novel around the time The Glass Wives launched in May. I was promoting the book, thinking about promoting the book, traveling to promote the book, and worrying about promoting the book. So, I didn't get a lot of writing done. I didn't get a lot of anything done outside book promotion, except the mandatory life stuff. Like lunch.

When things settled down a bit, I tried different ways of getting back to the work-in-progress: word counts, hours in front of the monitor, outlines, bullet-points, brainstorming sessions.  What I needed was a plan for forging ahead with the new book while I was still promoting the first book with verve. Can't stop doing one to do the other. Usually, I'm a great a multi-tasker, but I couldn't figure out how to immerse myself in writing one book while I was talking and writing about the other. How was I going to be involved with two sets of characters? How was The Glass Wives not going to bleed into the new book (as of yet untitled, argh).

Every time I wrote a bit of the WIP, I worried I was losing time and energy to promote The Glass Wives. Every time I got inside the head of my new main character, Izzy Lane, I worried she was too much like the one already on the bookshelves. And, every time I was talking or thinking about The Glass Wives, ideas struck me for the WIP and I scampered for a pen and paper (which I can never find). The stories and characters are different, I had to keep them separate, but couldn't.  These books were equally important even though they were, and are, at different stages.

But I couldn't stop promoting The Glass Wives to write more of Izzy's tale. Must write new, promote old. Heck, I hope one day to be writing, editing, and promoting simultaneously, so I figured I better get a handle on it before I have to get a handle on being an empty nester, which is in four weeks. Not that I'm counting.  And you might be thinking: HEY! She'll have all the time she needs. Remember, we are all more than writers. And when life shifts, so do our mindsets, priorities and emotions.  When my daughter went to kindergarten (my son was in second grade) I walked around the house for three weeks wondering what to do with a whole day to myself.  So you see, I'm going to have to also reconcile the writer, promoter, editor, and blogger with the empty-nester.

Luckily, what I realized just a week or two ago, is that I needed to really compartmentalize. Completely. I am still fortunate to be working from home and be the master of my own schedule so I decided that because I am the kind of writer who needs to be all-in, that different days would be dedicated to different parts of my life. So far, so good (except when I forget something). While this is a snapshot of the bulk of my energy, every single day I'm making lists about things that need to get done on other days. I'm alway on Twitter. I answer emails the same day I receive them. But having a focus has allowed me to consciously let go of big things in small bites, because I know where they fit back into my week. The fact was, I knew I was always going to promote The Glass Wives. What I didn't know how to do was everything else.

So, now on Mondays I'm looking for jobs outside the home, paying bills, taking care of anything related to my house, because there's always something. These things exhaust me emotionally. There is no writing energy. But what I have found is that on Mondays I do have energy for reading. For someone who usually just reads on weekends, that was a bonus.

On Tuesdays I write the new novel all day. All day!! I make notes if something about job-hunting or promotion hits me, but it's a day I have given over to Izzy Lane. She loves me for it. I'm hoping readers will too!

It's on Wednesdays that I divide time between the new novel and blogging (eh hem). I run Women's Fiction Writers (WFW), and write for several group blogs. Mid-week is a great time to make sure things are lined up, scheduled, on-track. It's also the day I'll grocery shop. (Yes, seems I have to schedule it.)

Thursdays I'm back to Izzy Lane. Writing, revising, polishing. Sometimes outlining and planning. Whatever I'm doing (taking out the trash, showering, playing with the dogs, college shopping) I'm also in the new novel mindset without feeling guilty or like I'm neglecting The Glass Wives.

On Fridays I plan the weekend and finish up things undone. Because schedules are great but life gets in the way. Sometimes a friend is need. Sometimes I need a nap (it's true). If I need to do a major push with promotion, have an interview to complete or a guest post to answer or a speech to write, it gets done on Friday.

On Saturday and Sunday mornings I read. And I'm talking for hours. Or, I read again. I didn't read at all for those first months after my book came out. I couldn't concentrate. Once Saturday comes, I do whatever I want. Usually what I want has something to do with writing. (Am I the only writer who dreams of a vacation and that means more writing?) I often write essays and that's a great day for it. Even though my weeks bleed into my weekends, Saturdays have their own vibe. Sometimes that vibe dictates I just watch TV. I love TV. On Sundays after I read, I write interviews for WFW and make sure I'm on track for the week with everything. There is much list-writing involved.

And on Mondays, I get that businessy stuff out of the way again so the rest of the week I can concentrate on the work that makes me happy! (that would be writing)

The truth is, I dip in and out of promoting The Glass Wives all the time, writing or not. I can't imagine I'll ever stop. Not until there's a new book to promote and then I'll probably say, "Hey, did you know? I wrote this other book too!" And hopefully I'll also say...and I'm also working on book number three!

AMY SUE NATHAN lives and writes near Chicago where she hosts the popular blog, Women's Fiction Writers. She has published articles in Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune and New York Times Online among many others.  Amy is the proud mom of a son and a daughter in college, and a willing servant to two rambunctious rescued dogs.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?

By Erin Cashman

I am a pretty organized person. I love my to-do lists. Sometimes I write things on my to-do lists that I’ve already done just to cross them off! I love the immediate feeling of accomplishment. I also make to-do lists for my husband and children, which largely go ignored. In high school, college, and law school I was the queen of outlines. I felt in control, knowing what I needed to know. Everything was boiled down nice and neat, with bullets, highlighting, and Roman numerals.

So when it comes to writing, I want, no I yearn, to be a plotter. Each time that a new story idea pops into my head and won’t go away, filling my mind with dialogue and settings and characters, I sit down with a crisp, clean pad of paper, and start my outline. I make a list of characters with brief descriptions, and I write not one, but two outlines -- one of the entire book, and then I outline the first five or six chapters in detail. I keep this notebook next to my laptop, and then I start to write.

And then I never look at the outline again. The characters hijack my brain, and I follow them down dark and twisty paths that lead me into unchartered territory. My villain is actually just a bit of a rogue. The nice, milk-commercial cute guy has a dark side.  My main character isn’t flawed in the way I thought. And secondary characters evaporate. New ones pop up. I dream about these characters, their voices fill my head during quiet moments, and months later I have a draft. A terrible, awful, messy draft. I have not followed my neat outline, or even glanced at it. My story arc is more of a zigzag.  But I know my characters better.  I know what their deepest desires are, and what they are trying to hide from me.

So I revise, and revise and revise some more. I write huge amount of back story that I cut. I write tangents that I cut. I write endings that I cut. I write and write and write, and I cut and cut and cut. But with each draft my characters reveal more of themselves, and I learn what makes them tick. Right now I am actually on my eleventh draft of a novel! But I’m not sick of it yet, and with each pass I like it better. By the time I’m finished I am pretty sure I will have cut as many words as I’ve saved. It is a very time consuming, inefficient, torturously painful way to write a novel. But it’s the only way I can.

So, I have come to realize that in most areas of my life I’m a plotter. And I really want to be a plotter when it comes to writing. I love the orderliness of it. I love starting on page one and knowing where I’m going to end. But try as I may, I’m not a plotter.  I’m a pantser.  The only way I can really know my characters is by writing about them. It’s everything I don’t like – messy, unorganized and chaotic. But it’s just how I write.

What are you?


Erin Cashman is a YA author. Her debut fantasy novel, THE EXCEPTIONALS, was published by Holiday House in 2012 and named a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year. You can find her at the group blogs The Enchanted InkpotBookPregnant Blog, and on Twitter,Facebook, and her Website

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

J.K. Rowling and the "Discovery Problem" in Crime Fiction

By Nancy Bilyeau

There are not that many novelists who would be delighted with selling 500 copies of a book in four months. J.K. Rowling is one of them.

The gig is up, and "Robert Galbraith," debut author of the detective story The Cuckoo's Calling, is proven to be J.K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter series and multi-millionaire. The novel hit No. 1 on amazon and shall soon rule the print bestseller lists with the vigor of a vengeful Snape.

Right now everyone is taking a peek at the writing of "Rowlbraith:"

"The buzz in the street was like the humming of flies. Photographers stood massed behind barriers patrolled by police, their long-snouted cameras poised, their breath rising like steam. Snow fell steadily on to hats and shoulders; gloved fingers wiped lenses clear. From time to time there came outbreaks of desultory clicking, as the watchers filled the waiting time by snapping the white canvas tent in the middle of the road, the entrance to the tall red-brick apartment block behind it, and the balcony on the top floor from which the body had fallen."

I think that's a damn good opening paragraph--and I'm not alone. The crime novel earned good reviews and glowing recommendations from authors while, all insist, they thought they were reading the work of Robert Galbraith, vaguely defined as "ex military." That is surprising. It's extremely difficult for a debut author without a "platform" to garner this attention. Galbraith couldn't be interviewed or show up for a photo op at a bookstore launch, since I assume drag isn't Rowling's thing. Although this sounds fishy, I am determined to be generous and attribute the critical success to Little, Brown being a very good publisher.

On her website, J.K. Rowling said, "I hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name."

Right now everyone is focusing on Rowling's being able to pull off this magician trick, while pointing fingers at the commissioning book editors who last year didn't want to buy the novel when they thought they were assessing Galbraith. The game of gotcha is afoot.

But I keep thinking of those 500 sold copies. (According to The Guardian, 450 were sold in England.) The book was well reviewed, with a smart cover. Yet that was the best it could do.

Which brings me to last weekend's Thrillerfest, the annual conference in New York City bringing together hundreds of published authors, aspiring writers, agents, editors, and reporters. I had a fantastic time, happily serving on the panel "Who Killed Jack the Ripper? Putting the Mystery in History," moderated by bestseller Steve Berry and populated by fellow historical writers C.W. Gortner, David Liss, William Dietrich, David Morrell, and M.J. Rose.

It was M.J. Rose, author of the enthralling Seduction: A Novel and founder of Author Buzz, who first told me about the "discovery problem" in fiction. Novels by debut authors keep hitting the shelves, but some are having a hard time finding readers, no matter how well written. Newspapers and magazines have eliminated their review sections; bookstores are struggling; fiction fights for people's attention as twitter, Facebook and cable TV series beckon.

Still, The Cuckoo's Calling was well reviewed and it received bookstore placement. Something else is at work here, and it was M.J. Rose again who shared something interesting at last Friday's International Thriller Writers' membership meeting of Thrillerfest.

M.J. said that according to research conducted by the Codex Group, new thriller authors have the greatest challenge of all in finding readers, when compared to other genres.

Wait a minute, you're thinking. Don't thrillers (or "crime fiction," as the category is called in the UK) have a lock on the top of the bestseller lists? Yes, they do--the ones written by established authors, often called the franchise or brand name writers. The newbies have a rough time getting attention in the shadow of these brands.

I reached out to Peter Hildick-Smith of the Codex Group to go deeper.

"Among fiction fans, thriller and suspense fans are the most obsessed of all--telling us they primarily read authors they know and love most, to the exclusion of trying new writers," Peter emailed me. The debuts "have the greatest challenge trying to reach a new audience that simply isn't interested in reading unknown authors."

Romance readers are "more open to new voices," Peter explains. Of the number of books bought last year by fans of the thriller genre, 19 percent were written by unfamiliar authors--but when looking at fans' purchases of erotic romance, a whopping 45 percent were penned by new authors.

"Fans read their favorite category to satisfy different needs," Peter says. "My personal view: thriller fans want guaranteed, consistent entertainment with minimal risk of disappointment--romance readers want new experiences, to experiment and take risks."

At first I had a hard time relating to these statistics. I've always been open to new voices. I love to discover an author, and years before publishing my first novel I would make a purchase based on the cover design, the jacket copy and a scan of the first paragraph. But then, I don't confine myself to thrillers. I read historical fiction, literary fiction, young adult, nonfiction. You name it. I'm also a newsstand-magazine editor living in New York City, and so am part of a tribe that loves to discover: the new independent film, restaurant, rooftop bar, weekend bed-and-breakfast, shoe store. I'm not obsessed with minimizing risk.

Masterpiece Mystery's "Endeavour"
But then I remembered Sunday night. A new mystery series was on "Masterpiece Mystery," called Endeavour. At the last minute, my husband and I, mystery fanatics, wavered between Endeavour and a classic episode of Columbo starring Ruth Gordon. Endeavour won--and I'm happy it did. I'm enjoying the series'  acting, deft layering of clues, and 1960s-era detail. But then, Endeavour isn't even totally new, it's an "origins story" of Inspector Morse, written so well by Colin Dexter and portrayed so memorably by John Thaw. What if the "Masterpiece Mystery" had been a completely new character and story? Might Columbo have won, even though I've seen that episode at least three times? I was tired Sunday night, and perhaps on some level I craved "guaranteed" entertainment.

I'm beginning to see why Robert Galbraith didn't stand a chance.


Nancy Bilyeau's historical thriller The Chalice is on sale in North American and the United Kingdom. The first book in the series, The Crown, reached No. 1 on amazon's bestseller list and was on the short list of the Crime Writers' Association's Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Awards for 2012. The Chalice received a "Top Pick" review in March 2013 from Romantic Times and was praised by the Historical Novel Society: "The Chalice is writ large across England and the Continent as history and supernatural mysticism combine in this compelling thriller." For more information, go to

Touchstone Books/U.S.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover... Even Though Everyone Else Is

by Mindy McGinnis

As a librarian I see the magic of a good book cover firsthand, everyday. I admit that I'm not immune to the siren song of something pretty myself. When the new boxes of books come in you can bet that the ones my ink-stained fingers go for first are the titles with great covers. I'm a librarian, a life-long reader, and an author.

I should know better.

But I can't help it. I'm like a bird flying straight into a window. When it comes to new authors who haven't already proven their mettle to me, the good-looking books get the to the top of the TBR pile every time. I see my patrons doing the same whenever I set up the shiny new things in the designated Shiny New Things Area. A few of the more self-controlled ones try to do intelligent browsing, but most do a dive like a barn swallow spotting an errant mosquito and snatch up whatever looks best.

Authors know this, and we fret. We fret because for the most part our cover is out of our hands. Some of us are fortunate enough to have some control over our cover process, and even more of us are blessed with truly talented art departments that channel our book into a picture. I can't say enough how pleased I am with the cover of NOT A DROP TO DRINK.

But isn't what's between the dust jacket the most important thing? Shouldn't the pages be the motivating factor on what people pick up to, you know - read? Sure, yes, they definitely should. Also I know a lot of ugly guys with great personalities who would love a date sometime in the future.

So what can we do as authors to ensure that our baby looks good?

  • Talk to your agent before the contract is signed. Some houses will negotiate author input on cover design.
  • If you are asked for your ideas before production begins, keep it simple. Don't have specific demands or an exact sketch of what you want. For example, when I was asked my thoughts on what DRINK should look like I said it felt like a "blue" book, and that I didn't want to see my MC's face. Those simple guidelines were put to work, along with someone else's creativity to deliver an awesome cover.
  • Be flexible. Sure, you wanted a black cover and got an orange one. But - why? Maybe black is over and orange pops on the shelf right now. There are reasons for every small thing that goes into your cover.
  • Trust your art department... and thank them! It's our job to write the book, it's their job to make it pretty, not vice-versa. When DRINK's cover was revealed I received a slew of compliments, which I think is pretty funny. Why are people complimenting me? I didn't make it. Mention your designer's name when your cover is praised. They'll remember it. (Ahem, I love you, Erin Fitzsimmons).

And in the end if you hate your cover, don't tell a single soul. Imagine for one second that your book truly is a baby, and someone stops you in the marketplace and says, "Is it a boy or a girl?" And you say, "I don't know, I can't get past how it looks." Um... you just lost at parenting.

Same is true with the publishing industry. You love your book. You love your cover. Smile and make a new one.
Mindy McGinnis is a YA author and librarian. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, is a post-apocalyptic survival tale set in a world where freshwater is almost non-existent, available from Katherine Tegen / Harper Collins September 24, 2013. She blogs at Writer, Writer Pants on Fire and contributes to the group blogs Book PregnantFriday the ThirteenersFrom the Write AngleThe Class of 2k13The Lucky 13s & The League of Extraordinary Writers. You can also find her on TwitterTumblr & Facebook.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ten Facebook Statuses to Instantly Engage Your Readers

The opposite of "Like" is now "Ignore."
by Lydia Netzer

Comments on Facebook status updates let us know that we aren't standing all alone in the middle of a party, making animated hand gestures and facial expressions into thin air. Likes reassure us that we're not sighing out half-hearted commentary into a lonely glass of wine while no one listens. As authors, these responses also let us know that we're doing social media correctly, and that we won't be fired by our publishers for being the dullest clods on the internet. They can fire you for that, you know. So how do you get readers to engage with your page? 

It's difficult to know what to say sometimes. I know this one older dude on Facebook who only posts pictures from traffic cameras and also cats. He has a bunch of friends and they're highly engaged, commenting on and Liking everything. I want to think he's unlocked some kind of magical Facebook formula where cat posts combine with traffic camera footage to create a powerful ankh that gives its wearer internet popularity. I salute that guy. But we can't all be him. A lot of people I know, especially authors, seem to worry about appearing too positive, too negative, too repetitive, too pretentious. Posting a status update can feel like tugging on someone's elbow. What if they don't turn around?

The way to get people engaged with your Facebook Page is to give them an opportunity to do something they already want to do. 

No one logs onto Facebook with a burning desire to say "Oh, hmm!" to a dry description of your writing routine. No one yearns to say "Cool fixture!" when you post a picture of your desk lamp. No one really needs to Like your link to an article you wrote about yourself. But you can get comments and Likes flowing by figuring out what people on the internet want to do, and then giving them a place to do it. 

For example, here are ten Facebook updates that will get comments, possibly even a storm of comments, for your Page, right now today: 

1. Turkey bacon: Salvation or abomination?
What do people want to do? Pick sides. 
Picking sides in a clear-cut two-side argument is the easiest thing to do in the world. And fun -- just look at sports. In fact, asking which sports team your readers are rooting for in a game would also make a good post, but really any simple choice between two opposing options will work. You'll have some friends who find extruded meat disgusting and some that feel turkey bacon has allowed them to live again. But don't make them think too much. This is supposed to be fun. 

Kids, we're having conversation starter for dinner!
2. What should I do with this chicken and rutabega?
What do people want to do? Talk about food.
If you haven't figured out that the internet is mostly about food then you haven't spent much time on Pinterest or Instagram. People love to talk about their favorite recipes and help you with your food dilemmas. Post a strange combination of ingredients and ask for ideas. For bonus points, post a strange combination of ingredients you actually have and then post a picture of the results. Or just ask, "What can I make with kale?"

3. It's time for vacation! What city should I visit next?
What do people want to do? Be experts.
Everyone is an expert on the places they've been, especially places in Europe for some reason. If you ask for a "must do" list in Barcelona, I guarantee your comments will be piling up in drifts around your page. You'll have to get rid of them with a leaf blower just to see your cover photo. 

4. Ready to change up my coffee. How do you take it? 
What do people want to do? Define a personal preference. 
Collections of these questions used to float around email lists, circulating as ice breakers or just getting-to-know-you prompts. What's your favorite crayon color? Do you drink lemonade or soda? Do you eat the broccoli stems or not? This kind of question is good because it requires a short answer, and it feels like a revelation without the discomfort of an actual revelation.

5. Anybody get any good news today?
What do people want to do? Share feelings. 
You could ask the broader question: "How are you doing?" But that's actually harder to answer and less inviting than a more specific question. Any time you can bend your post so that the on-ramp to a comment is a  yes/no answer, you're giving your readers an easier time. Anybody sick today? Anybody on the rampage today? They can always just Like... the Facebook equivalent of nodding.

6. What’s the worst thing you ever did in a minivan?
What do people want to do? Share personal anecdotes. 
Again, be specific in scope but general in appeal. Asking about the worst thing someone's done in a minivan is pretty specific. But on the other hand, everyone's been in a minivan. Everyone can answer this. Sharing personal anecdotes is fun, it's interesting to read the other comments on the post, and if you keep the question light, it's easy to give a quick comment.

7. Gosh, at what age do you think I should wean my baby?
What do people want to do? Express an opinion. 
Up to this point I've stressed that you should keep it light and easy, but I'd be remiss if I didn't note that real controversy will make your readers engage. One way to survive it with your dignity (and friend list) intact is to pose your update as a question, and then stay out of the resulting fray. Sure you can toss in some "Hmm, what about this?" comments to move the conversation along, but don't argue one side or the other. This isn't turkey bacon, and people can get pretty irate. Note: If you use the exact status update in this example, and you aren't currently nursing a baby, it might become obvious to your readers that you're just trying to stir them into a frothy passion. 

8. My kid/husband/dog just said/did a funny thing!
What do people want to do? Laugh. 
If you are lucky enough to have a child or husband or dog that provides you with Facebook fodder, don't hide this charming light under a bushel. If you find it funny, your readers will too, including me. 

I seriously don't know what kind of car this is.
9. Does anyone know what kind of car is in this picture? I'm doing research. 
What do people want to do? Help. 
Writers do research online, and one of the best places to do it is right on your Facebook Page, utilizing the knowledge base of your readers. Many times I've asked for help with word choice, facts, identifying pictures, etc. Unless you want it to sound like a game of trivia, make it a genuine question that you're actually struggling with. If you're really unsure, or the answer is ambiguous, then the comments won't dry up after someone gets the right answer, like they would in a trivia question post.

10. Guys, I've got a secret to share. 
What do people want to do? Connect. 
This isn't something you can do every day, both because it would be emotionally exhausting and because you probably don't have enough deeply personal material to keep on revealing something new day after day. Or maybe you do. (Great!) But once in a while, sharing something really personal is a powerful way for your readers and friends to connect with you. If you are in pain, or fear, or love, occasionally let people peek at that. Making yourself a little bit vulnerable makes you accessible and real to the people who genuinely want to connect.

When your Facebook Page provides opportunities for readers and friends to do things they already want to do, you're making it easy for them to interact with you. Try it! 

Lydia Netzer is the author of Shine Shine Shine, now out in paperback, which the New York Times Book Review selected as one of 100 Notable Books for 2012. It was also chosen by Amazon as one of their Editor's Picks for the Top 100 Books of 2012, by Library Journal as one of five Top Women's Fiction Titles of 2012, and by Nancy Pearl in Publisher's Weekly as one of her ten favorite books of 2012. It's a novel about robots, motherhood, space travel, true love, and the perils of fitting in. Find her on her blogFacebook, and Twitter

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Writing and Technology (or, check out my new pencil)

by Sam Thomas

Given that you are reading this on-line, you are likely aware of the changes wrought by technology on the publishing industry. E-books are killing the printed book, Amazon is killing B&N, B&N and Amazon are killing the indie book store, and my friend Robert K. Lewis is writing his next novel on an honest-to-God typewriter.

I’ve been thinking a good bit about technology of reading and writing of late, and how technology affects the way we do each one. I have to admit that the Kindle is a real boon to my research. I simply highlight passages as I go, and then print out the list when I’m done. QED. That said, as a recovering historian, my favorite technology is the Book Wheel.  It’s a wee bit out of date in the technological age and is unlikely to fit in most home offices, but it remains awesome.

But over the last few weeks as I’ve started writing the next book about Bridget Hodgson, my butt-kicking, crime-solving midwife, I took one giant step backwards, at least from a technological perspective.

I’ve written the first 15% of the book by hand in a leather-bound notebook from Target.

[By way of explanation: I just spent three weeks chaperoning a student trip to China. This meant lots of time on buses, trains, and planes, where computer power wasn’t always reliable. I also didn’t feel like dragging my laptop up the Great Wall.]

As I wrote, I wondered how the technology I used would affect the process of writing and the book itself. Was this something I wanted to continue after I returned to the United States?

The downside of writing a book by hand is pretty clear: it’s going to take longer. The writing isn’t any faster than typing, so I am simply adding a step. Rather than writing and typing simultaneously, I will have to write it by hand and then type it into the computer.

But I can’t help wondering of the change might be worth it. I find myself more focused: no computer = no email/Facebook, etc. If I wonder about the meaning of a word, rather than getting lost in the Oxford English Dictionary for ten minutes, I make a note to look it up later and keep writing.

Also, since I don’t save my work chapter by chapter, I have stopped thinking in chapter increments. (Does anyone have one big file for their entire novel?) The pace and plot are dictated not by structural demands of the novel – I try to keep my chapters relatively consisted in length – but by the story itself. I feel like the story has added momentum. (Granted I could be wrong, but that’s how it feels at the moment.)

In any event, I’m not sure what I’m going to do as I move forward, but let me open the floor to all of you:
  • Have you ever – as an adult – written anything by hand?
  •  How does technology affect the way you 
  • What should I do? (I’m terrible at making decisions.)